Professor ends Britain's 60-year wait

PUBLISHED: 10:14 13 May 2008 | UPDATED: 15:45 11 May 2010

JENNY CLACK

JENNY CLACK

SCIENTIST Jenny Clack has become the first Briton in more than 60 years to receive a prestigious award. Professor Clack, of Mill Road, Royston, was flown out to Washington, where she was presented with the Daniel Giraud Elliot medal by America s National

SCIENTIST Jenny Clack has become the first Briton in more than 60 years to receive a prestigious award.

Professor Clack, of Mill Road, Royston, was flown out to Washington, where she was presented with the Daniel Giraud Elliot medal by America's National Academy of Sciences.

She said: "The judges look at your work over a prolonged period of time, and there usually has to be the publication of a book involved somewhere.

"It was obviously a nice surprise.

"I am the first British scientist to get the award since 1941, and the first woman since 1952."

The medal, which is awarded only once every four years, is presented for "pre-eminence in zoology or palaeontology."

It was established in 1917, and is named after American zoologist Daniel Giraud Elliot.

Professor Clack, who is curator of vertebrate palaeontology at the Cambridge University Museum of Zoology, studies the way limbed vertebrates originated from their aquatic ancestors 360 million years ago.

In 2002, she published a book, Gaining Ground.

She said: "I'd visited America plenty of times before, but had never been to Washington.

"The awards were made at a ceremony on the first day of the Academy's annual conference, so I met a lot of other scientists who I'd never seen before.

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